Columnea gloriosa Sprague
Columnea salmonea, Columnea tuerckheimii
Bloom Time: Midsummer to mid-fall
Columnea gloriosa is a perennial plant known for the red long tubular-shaped flowers appearing like leaping fish. It has long, slender pendulous branches with opposite pairs of green, slightly hairy leaves. Flowers are tubular, bright scarlet with yellow throats, and appear at every leaf joint. The long stems can reach up to 3 feet (90 cm).
USDA hardiness zone 11a to 12b: from 40 °F (+4.4 °C) to 60 °F (15.6 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Columnea plants like plenty of humidity. If the plant is in a regular pot, you can place a saucer full of pebbles under the pot and put water in it. As the water evaporates, it creates a high humidity spot for the plant. Do not let the water touch the Goldfish Plant's pot, however. If it is in a hanging basket, mist the leaves daily to keep them happy. Use room temperature water as cold water will cause brown spots on the leaves.
Fertilize weekly during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer with lots of Phosphorus to encourage blooming. Do not fertilize during the winter.
Use good, well-draining potting soil when potting these plants. Columnea plants seem to do better when slightly root-bound and produce better flowers in this condition. Every two to three years, repot the plant in a pot one size up from the one it is in. Gently trim the roots to encourage new root growth. Place the plant in fresh potting soil when repotting for maximum success. Make sure the pot you choose has drainage holes to prevent root rot in the plant from poor drainage.
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